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Let’s talk about our future

15 December 2002--Today, we’re going to take a look into the crystal ball at the very near future. There are a number of things swirling around in there that need to emerge and insinuate themselves into the "collective consciousness" of the Helix community and all of them have one self-serving theme in common: together, these "things" will provide the energy--in the form of money--for this engine to move forward from here to take us to macOS and beyond.

There’s a very informative book called "The Seven Laws of Money" by Stuart Brand, the man behind the "Whole Earth Catalog." Brand’s first two laws of money are very relevant to the situation we’re in right now.

The first law states that if you do the right thing, and that thing requires money to get it done, the money will come. It’s sort of an economic statement of "what goes around comes around," but in this case, it goes out as energy and comes back as cash. By all accounts, up to this point at least, it would appear that this law has worked well in favor of the Helix universe.

The second law states that if you pursue money for its own sake, you become changed in the process. The reason so many people who achieve financial success feel some aspect of disappointment is because when they went into the process, they saw the anticipated result as something they would enjoy--in their present state. The way to prevent this law from adversely affecting you, is to steer clear of it by pursuing your goal for its pure state, which, in our case, is a version of Helix that runs in macOS, so we can all derive the clear benefit of moving into this great new OS, and eventually becoming platform-independent, so people of computer persuasions other than Macintosh-only can share some of the happiness we all derive from working in Helix.

Of course, if some people can make money from this happiness, that’s okay too, but it must not be the primary purpose.

That having been said, here comes the medicine. Please bear in mind as you read what follows the above-mentioned common thread:

1. Helix 5.1 is about to be released--in fact, if you’re a beta tester, our "Final Candidate 2" beta is available for testing NOW--and the price will be going up, as will the price of upgrades. For a limited time only, we’re going to let you upgrade to 5.1 at the current price. On February 1, 2003, new prices will be posted and this one goes away like the proverbial carriage turning back into a pumpkin.

2. Most of our so-called "Free Technical Support" will be going on "hiatus," just as soon as our plan is worked out. We will continue to offer free Technical Support up to a certain point in time for all new users and possibly in some upgrade situations as well, but beyond that, a pay-as-you-go and/or pre-paid support plan will go into effect.

In case you were not already aware of this, to help contain our costs, we do not support anything older than 5.0 so if you are not already a 5.x owner and you need technical support, your option is either to upgrade or to pay for the support you use.

As to the final form this plan takes, your input is vital to making this a success, and you’ll be able to read about it and give us your feedback very soon.

3. Training, both for developers and end-users, is still on the drawing board, but the picture is getting more detailed as time goes by. It will be modest at first; eventually becoming more involved. It will probably begin on the road, hopefully sometime this spring, with that road eventually leading back to the web site. If you’re going to be at Macworld Expo in San Francisco next month, we’re considering a couple of Helix seminars we might present there and we’d like your feedback. Please click here to help us out: MWExpo Training Survey.

4. A certification process for developers of both vertical and custom applications, as well as in-house and outside Helix technicians, is going to be put into place. It’s a necessary evil and one that will never happen if we don’t start somewhere. It ultimately must be, to stretch an overused phrase nearly to the point of nausea, a win-win-win situation, good for you, good for us, and, if you’re a developer, good for your customers and your relationships with them. A lot of feedback will be solicited both from developers and their potential customers if they’re interested in participating.

5. We’re going to expand the Helix store. Maybe you don’t need an upgrade because you’re already up-to-date. But you might like a shirt or a mug or something, and you know that whatever it costs is going to help us get to macOS. In fact, we have a survey on our web site right now where you can help us decide the design of our first T-shirt. Go there by clicking T-Shirt Survey.

6. We’re going to begin selling third-party Helix products from our website. This includes Helix applications. For example, the upcoming version of Call Helix® can be purchased with your Helix upgrade at a discount on both products. We will, of course, take a cut from sales of products from anyone who wants to co-market this way to cover administrative costs, and, of course, to help us get to macOS.

If you have such a product and you want to take advantage of this process, call us at 1.800.784.7018. All co-marketing decisions will be made in a completely biased and subjective manner. We will not be afraid of hurting your feelings (primarily because of how little time we have for it), so you must be able to handle rejection well to participate in this process. You won’t make nearly as much money on each sale as you would yourself and you might be subjected to a humiliating process by us. On the upside, you might hitch your wagon to a star and you have little to lose.

7. We’re looking into creating a Helix "Code Library" department in the store where you can purchase tried-and-tested drop-in code for your applications. From things as simple as W-2 forms or mailing label templates to complete Accounts Receivable relations, each one will come with complete documentation and our assurance that they will work as advertised and be pasteable as instructed without causing any harm to your Collections and will be available at a very reasonable price.

That’s it for now. In the next few weeks, we will present surveys and further development of these ideas until we can, together, formulate working policy and put these tools to work toward the goal of paying for the enormous development project that lays before us: Helix 6. Meanwhile, watch this space for breaking news about 5.1.

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